Photography, Kevin Clark

Dungeness Crab Boil With Stone Fruit Butter

A savoury-sweet stone fruit butter sets Chef Ned Bell's crab boil apart.

A boil-up of tender Dungeness crab legs, baby potatoes and juicy corn on the cob is the ultimate shared dining experience – especially if you’re cooking it in a great big pot of seawater over a beach campfire. What sets this one apart is the savoury-sweet stone fruit butter that gets tossed in right before serving. This butter is delicious on just about any barbecued seafood, or even grilled tofu or seasonal vegetables, giving each bite the sweet taste of summer. –Ned Bell

Coastal Dungeness Crab Boil

Chef Ned Bell's recipe for a summer crab boil with Dungeness crab, corn, potatoes and seasonal stone fruit.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 6


Stone Fruit Butter

  • ½ cup chopped fresh stone fruit such as peaches, apricots or plums
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp roasted garlic see note #1
  • tsp smoked paprika
  • zest and juice of ½ lime or lemon
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Crab Boil

  • 2-3 lbs live Dungeness crabs see note #2
  • sea salt
  • 2 lb baby yellow or red potatoes unpeeled
  • 6 ears of fresh corn halved crosswise
  • ½ peach, apricot or plum sliced
  • ¼ cup Stone Fruit Butter
  • crusty bread
  • green salad to serve


Stone Fruit Butter

  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl or food processor and mix or process until well blended.
  • Scrape the butter onto a piece of plastic wrap and then shape and roll it into a 2-inch-thick log. Refrigerate until needed. (Can be stored up to 5 days in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.)

Crab Boil

  • Carefully place the crabs head first into the boiling water. When the water returns to a boil, cook for 15 minutes (or 20 minutes for 3-pound crabs).
  • Bring the water back to a boil and add the potatoes. Boil until tender, about 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a platter and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  • Return the crab to the water just to heat through, about 3 minutes. Drain and cut each crab into quarters. Return the corn and potatoes to the empty (but still warm) pot, add the peach (or apricot or plum) slices and stone fruit butter. Toss the pot or gently stir, allowing the butter to melt and coat everything.
  • Arrange the crab, corn and potatoes on the serving platter. Add some more dollops of butter. Provide mallets, crab picks and bowls for the shells. Serve with crusty bread, a salad and your favourite ice-cold craft beer.


#1. To roast garlic, slice the top third off of a head of garlic to expose the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil and roast at 400°F for 30 to 40 minutes or until soft. 
2. Chill the live crabs in the freezer for 15 minutes before cooking – it slows them down and makes them easier to get into the water.

Excerpted from Lure by Ned Bell and Valerie Howes. Photographs by Kevin Clark. Copyright 2017 by Chefs for Oceans, recipes copyright by Ned Bell. Excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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